GOZZOLI, Benozzo
(b. ca. 1420, Firenze, d. 1497, Pistoia)

Madonna and Child Giving Blessings

Tempera on silk on a wooden mount, 254 x 130 cm
Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome

Benozzo went to Rome in 1447 in order to paint - together with Fra Angelico - the Chapel of St Nicholas in the Vatican. Vasari mentions other works by Benozzo Gozzoli during his stay in Rome, which are mostly lost or destroyed. However, the Madonna and Child Giving Blessings, painted on silk, still exists in Santa Maria sopra MInerva.

Benozzo has placed the Madonna standing in frontal view, common in the early Middle Ages, within an architectural framework. The dark blue cloak of the Mother of God is draped across the balustrade, thus creating the impression that she is about to step out of the ciborium. With her left hand she is embracing the Christ Child, who, as a sign of his dominion over the world, is holding a globe in his hand, on which the names of the continents known at that time, ASIA, EVROPIA and AFRICA are written. He is not represented in the form of a child but as an adult in miniature, solemnly dressed in a tunic and red pallium.